1. 1

    Interesting story, I hope they release the NAND contents.

    1. 3

      Pretty surprising to see this kind of article (basically PL fanboying) on BlackBerry-(the cell phone maker)’s blog. Normally corporate blogs are more oriented toward teaching something specific or talking about experience whereas this is more of a love letter.

      As I write this, I have a serious Ada program consisting of 19 source code files containing 2,985 comment lines and 6,253 of Ada code open on my desktop. This forms part of a semi-formal verification suite of a new QNX development in progress at the moment. In the past I would have written this program in C or Python. Writing it in Ada has sometimes been infuriating because I turn on all compiler warnings and specify that warnings are to be treated as errors. However, Ada’s characteristics have saved me hours of debugging. Getting a clean compilation takes a little longer, but that is more than compensated by the reduced debugging effort.

      It’s possible that this “new QNX development” is a work project he’s using Ada on? Hard to tell.

      1. 10

        BB basically no longer makes phones and is entirely security software now; plus I think they still own QNX.

        1. 8

          Indeed. This is a post from a developer at QNX which in my mind is a whole different entity than Blackberry the cellphone maker.

          1. 1

            Wasn’t very clear to me from his linked bio:

            Chris Hobbs is the author of the definitive book on functional safety, Embedded Software Development for Safety-Critical Systems. He has advised some of the largest industrial control and automotive companies as they pursued safety-certification standards.

            But thanks for clarifying.

            1. 2

              QNX is used in a lot of auto infotainment systems and I think they’re slowing absorbing onboard sensors and the like into the mix, thus the need for safety critical

      1. 3

        This is a good contrast / note on the Audacity analysis issue.

        1. 3

          I bet this was posted for this exact reason. And I so much support its message. Asking distros also wouldn’t have helped, they probably would’ve told you only that they can’t run without it - but not how much percent of your users and thus how worth the maintainership cost is.

          1. 16

            I remember talking with someone involved in this decision and one of the factors they mentioned was that on the bug tracker, conversations about pulse happened a lot more frequently than conversations about alsa.

            This decision seems like the inverse of survivorship bias; none of the alsa users made noise on the bug tracker because alsa works perfectly every time, and pulse users seem over-represented because their sound stack is a mess. It’s like that WWII story where they looked at the bullet holes in the planes and added armor to the places that didn’t need it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survivorship_bias#/media/File:Survivorship-bias.svg

        1. 2

          I’ve heard that DeepMind uses it, or some derivative of it. I think the guy who invented it at Apple got hired by Google.

          1. 5

            That guy was Chris Lattner. He and others developed Swift for Tensorflow with it, but it got archived last month. I dont know if they still use it internally.

            1. 2

              He and others developed Swift

              and LLVM ;)

          1. 1

            I use Google Keep on Android and Desktop to share stuff. It works OK, not bad but not exceptional.

            1. 9

              I’m curious if there’s a defined process for monitoring / removing moderators who are overzealous or partisan in the course of their duties. The moderator log is a good start, but how does the accountability follow?

              1. 18

                That’ll be my continuing responsibility as the admin. This application process should leave the site with me plus 3-5 people, so developing an explicitly defined process would probably be overkill for our scale.

                1. 4

                  Peter’s a fine fella but I personally find his own moderation style one-sided (I’ve seen instances where only a dissident opinion was removed from the comments, not both) and I don’t like that we can’t see removed comments, yes this is a limitation of the site but I think we’re all adults here and should be able to make our own judgements. Removing comments without letting anyone else read them at all smacks of censorship to me.

                  Basically, what I’m trying to say here is that I don’t think moderation monitoring is going to be effective given the issues I see with the current moderation policies.

                  1. 8

                    Burying comments (making them still readable, but hidden) has been mostly unsuccessful everywhere (I am aware of) it has been tried. Moderation IS censorship, and that isn’t a bug, it is a feature. The purpose is the removal of posts (or users).

                1. 27

                  Obligatory please don’t tell anyone how I live, here is my very messy desk:

                  OS: Arch Linux

                  CPU: Intel i5-6600 @ 3.30 GHz

                  RAM: 16 GB DDR4

                  WM: i3

                  MB: Gigabyte Q170M-D3H

                  KB: IBM Model M

                  GPU: Nah

                  Cat: Orange and White Maine Coon, “Salsa” aka “Salsa T. Cat Esq.”

                  Cat treats: Chicken

                  Water: Tap

                  Coffee: Black

                  Whisky: Neat

                  1. 11

                    I enjoyed this image very, very much. Thank you for your honesty! I particularly enjoyed the pump bottle of vaseline.

                    1. 6

                      Thanks! I was going to remove it and take another picture but then I thought, well why not just show a slice of everyday life? It’s cold and dry where I live in Canada and my skin needs some lotion so I don’t get the alligator complexion.

                      I was thinking a lot of this excellent Calvin and Hobbes comic when I was taking the picture, should I clean up my desk before I take a picture so I appear to be neat and tidy or just present my life as-is unfiltered?

                    2. 2

                      This feels like home. I don’t know if you can actually compare two messes but our areas feel equal in messiness.

                      1. 2

                        I see the base for the soldering iron. I’m scared to ask where in here the actual iron is.

                        1. 1

                          Haha, it’s off to the left, on the window sill.

                        2. 1

                          Fantastic! As well as Arch, I’m a huge Kubrick fan—where did you get your desktop background?

                          1. 1

                            Awesome, glad you liked it. I’ve had that one for a long time, I did a search on the filename and there is a copy here: https://www.colipera.com/you-deserve-nothing/vector-2001_00359644/

                          2. 1

                            I often struggle with how messy my desk becomes. My preferred style of note taking to work out a problem is a good pen and pads of paper, so things end up accumulating and I don’t feel like I want people to see my office. Thank you for sharing this picture! I’m right in the middle of reorganizing, or I’d show you how bad mine can get.

                            1. 1

                              is that a speaker strapped to the bottom of the left monitor? If yes, why?

                              1. 1

                                It is! It was an accessory that was available with that monitor and from what I recall, a lot of Dell business/professional monitors. Here’s what it looks like off the monitor.

                            1. 13

                              oof, it’s been a long time since my last post

                              New country, new OS, ….

                              Desks

                              Work Laptop: MacOS Catalina Personal Laptop: MacOS Big Sur (MacBook Pro 13” M1)

                              1. 5

                                Whoa! That’s a nice view! Having windows on three sides must provide you with a good amount of light!

                                1. 1

                                  They do! Echo is a problem though, I haven’t found a way to reduce it without covering the windows

                                2. 2

                                  I envy that view, beautiful!

                                  1. 1

                                    What was the old country and the new country, if I may ask?

                                    1. 3

                                      I went from India -> US -> Canada

                                      I didn’t know how much I would like it here, it’s been surprisingly awesome!

                                      1. 1

                                        Is that Vancouver?

                                        1. 4

                                          Yup!

                                          edit: should’ve lied, getting too close to being doxx’d

                                  1. 3

                                    Now I need to see if OSF will run…

                                    1. 3

                                      Have you seen this repository with old downloads: https://fsck.technology - it has OSF

                                      1. 1

                                        What is OSF?

                                        1. 2

                                          I’m pretty sure they’re refering to https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/OSF/1

                                      1. 4

                                        I would strongly suggest that any place that cares about a cerification over the quality of your work is not a place you should allow to employ you.

                                        1. 3

                                          I see where you are coming from, honestly. But sometimes it is not black and white. For the little I know, for consultancies, the company has to satisfy some parameters. Example: For people to know about you, you have to rely on word of mouth, or get promoted by some big fish. Most of the times this has some threshold, like “myHipShop is a gold partner if it has at least X certificates”.

                                          People attention span lately is very shallow, what bucket your company name ends up in might often be critical for the business.

                                          1. 2

                                            Yeah, Amazon will promote your consultancy if you have a certain number of staff with AWS certs. Good lead generation for some spaces.

                                            1. 2

                                              I have a friend at a consulting company. He has ~20 years experience in information security, several papers published, numerous conference appearances, a long working relationship with DARPA, and a massive and great reputation.

                                              He had to go get his Certified Ethical Hacker cert the other day because, well, that was a checkbox on the customer’s requirement list. What’re ya gonna do, y’know?

                                              1. 1

                                                As a manager in InfoSec, I’d highly recommend OSCP over CEH. CEH is not really seen as a deep understanding or even good education in my corner of cyberspace.

                                                1. 1

                                                  What you’re saying is not contradicting what the grandparent said in any way, the customer probably wanted exactly that one and not a different one.

                                                  1. 2

                                                    It’s just useful info.

                                              2. 2

                                                Also, even if you do get hired without certifications, having them may influence how much you’ll get paid.

                                              3. 2

                                                This is exactly the way I used to feel. And I’m still not convinced that collecting certifications like Pokemon is a worthwhile activity. There are two things that made me question this assumption.

                                                First of all, there’s increasing skepticism about the effectiveness of job interviews and whiteboard exercises. I think we’d all agree that an independently assessed exam, that gives the candidate time to prepare, would give a better estimation of their abilities.

                                                Secondly, other fields require their practicioners to study and keep their skills up-to-date. Programming has no formal requirement, but arguably it should. Again, this is a void that could be filled by certification.

                                                Our professional space has two certification-shaped holes in it. I’m not sure that the current practice of certification fills these holes in an adequate manner, but maybe that’s just my unfamiliarity with certification programs.

                                                1. 1

                                                  Job interviews are mostly smoke and mirrors in every profession. Either the applicant has a portfolio or you’re just gambling. If they’ve wasted some of their life on a degree or a cert that’s less usefuk experience or portfoio building time they could have had.

                                                  Exams are equally bad to interviews, they also do not test what you want to know. As someone hiring you’re looking for skills, exams only tell you about exam-taking skills and one-time short term memory contents.

                                                  Programming doesn’t change much since Turing. Every new job will have a different tech stack no cert could prepare you for. You need candidates who can learn on the job.

                                                  Finally, even if degrees and certs had value, you can (easily) get work without them, so anyone who asks you for one should be a strike against them.

                                                  1. 1

                                                    When hiring, a portfolio would be delightful. But it takes an order of magnitude less work to get a certification than to build a meaningful portfolio, so I’d take that as a good second. If you’ve been involved in the hiring process, you’ll know that getting an applicant with meaningful and relevant portfolio work is rare.

                                                    And you’ve sort of ignored my question about personal professional development.

                                                    1. 1

                                                      I guess it depends how many people you’re hiring. For really big teams, I guess you might run out of applicants with meaningful project work, and then you’re just going on gut feel. For a 20 person consultancy we manged to hire most with at least somethin we could see.

                                                      My third para was intended to sddress PD. I don’t think it’s a good fit for our field, since most learning relevant to the job has to happen on the job.

                                              1. 2

                                                Why don’t they just make ten be better and make that the top number and just make it be a little bit better?

                                                1. 4

                                                  This SDK goes to 11.

                                                1. 1

                                                  This isn’t really a way to prevent theft but perhaps aid in recovery: GPS or SMS tracker perhaps with motion activation? It seems like it would be fairly easy to do given the availability of microcontrollers and sensors. Getting the police to actually go get it might be more difficult, however.

                                                  1. 1

                                                    How would you include a tracker in a way that’s not easily removable / disabled by a thief?

                                                  1. 2

                                                    I hope this is good news for PineBook Pro owners, I just ordered one this week :)

                                                    1. 2

                                                      Yay. Fun memories.

                                                      Back when instant messaging was cool, I had the idea of extending the shell to do all forms of contact management. The idea was that you could create file types that represented people, and folders that represented various organizations, then just add the files and folders to your OS, whether in a folder, on the desktop, etc. The shell would know that this kind of file was a person and then provide you tools to interact with that person. You could right click and send a file, start a voice call, and so forth. The back-end was Oracle.

                                                      Fun times. I wrote up a working POC and started looking for investors. This was before any of the Big Tech companies came to be. At the time I figured if you had a great idea, working code, and was able to deliver tech, that was all you needed.

                                                      I had fun with the shell extension stuff and got everything working I needed to work, but the money/business side of startups was far too difficult for me at the time. Still, I have fond memories of pouring through all the sample MSDN code and banging MFC into what I needed to make it all work.

                                                      1. 2

                                                        Kinda reminds of BeOS’ way of managing contacts, which Vista actually ending up using, in one of those Longhorn relics that shipped.

                                                        1. 1

                                                          I lack the historical context but could you explain why you chose Oracle as a backend? Just curious what other options were around at the time and what made it stand out for you.

                                                          1. 2

                                                            At the time, I was grooving out big time on Object-Oriented everything. I modeled my solution in UML, I was using C++/MFC/Win32 as the programming platform, I generated the tables using codegen, and I wanted a database that had the biggest amount of OO goodness. IIRC, Oracle/PL-SQL had a feature where you could pretty much group definitions, data, and methods into “objects” in the database. It also had much better error-handling code. Plus the best database drivers were made only for the top few database platforms. Oracle was one of the top three easily.

                                                            The problem, of course, was that they were more than willing to screw over anybody they could for licensing fees, but somehow or another I had a platform to develop with. I don’t remember if there was some kind of dev version or I was just hacking up something until I needed a license. Back then, of course, you had to run your own cloud/network services on-site, so I had seven or eight servers in the office: email, database, web, etc.

                                                            The hardest part about the entire project was the C++/COM stuff. More difficult than that, actually, over the long term was server maintenance and updates. It wasn’t tough, just time-consuming and tedious. Configuring and installing a local network was a hoot; maintaining it was a nightmare for one person (who had other things to do)

                                                        1. 5

                                                          Those old pictures of Ritchie are amazing

                                                          1. 10

                                                            Wikipedia has one particular photo of him (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Usenix84_1.jpg), a snippet of the description of which I always enjoy:

                                                            It has been asked: How come everyone in this photo is smiling except Dennis Richie? trb responds “That’s easy. Because we were with Dennis, and he was with us.”

                                                            1. 2

                                                              Ah! That’s awesome, I think this is the first time I’ve seen photos of him without the iconic beard. Interesting that his Dad worked at Bell Labs too, I learn something new everyday!

                                                          1. 2

                                                            Oh this bring back memories, my school division used NetWare from when I was in elementary school in the early-mid 90s right through to high school. Many a days spent messing around with it and carrying around copies of pandora(?) on floppies.

                                                            1. 4

                                                              Oof, I was hoping this was an April Fool’s day joke :(

                                                              1. 4

                                                                Ohh, I finally have something to share! I’ve been learning Golang and wrote my first “real” program in it, a small little program that reports back on which browser extensions are installed on a computer via a JSON blob to a other Golang program which sticks it into a Postgres server. I’ve really liked learning Go and have just started on a new program accessing some C libraries.

                                                                1. 2

                                                                  Golang is great. I first learned C and then transitioned to Go. The difference is night and day. There are many things I need to do with strings in C that is a breeze in Go.

                                                                  1. 1

                                                                    Curious, how are you retrieving the list of extensions, and from what browsers? Do you have the code on Github?

                                                                    1. 2

                                                                      First I grab a list of the user’s profiles from:

                                                                      HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList

                                                                      From there, I check for extensions in Chrome, Edge and Firefox by examining their %APPDATA% folders.

                                                                      I don’t have any public code for it, but if I do put some I’m I’ll let you know.

                                                                  1. 2

                                                                    I’m surprised they didn’t cover VNC over SSH, that’s usually worked ok for sharing with one user.

                                                                    1. 1

                                                                      I think that the hardware is only half the battle, how easy is it to get new books in non-DRM formats?

                                                                      1. 4

                                                                        Getting DRM free books can be challenging, but not impossible. Some publishers listed here https://www.libreture.com/bookshops/

                                                                        It’s also worth noting that it’s possible to strip DRM from books you buy using tools like Calibre.

                                                                        1. 2

                                                                          Black Library ebooks are (AFAIK) DRM-free.